Wednesday, September 16, 2009

SOTO HOMERS, BUT MEXICO FALLS TO CANADA, 4-2


Catcher Saul Soto belted a two-run home run to left field in the eighth inning, but it wasn’t nearly enough for Mexico as the Verde Grande dropped a 4-2 decision to Canada Wednesday in a World Baseball Cup second round contest in Godo, Italy. The contest had to be rescheduled from Tuesday after rain forced postponement of all BWC games in both Italy and The Netherlands.

The Canadians jumped out to the lead in the top of the first inning when Adam Stern scored from third base on Brett Lawrie’s flyout to right field. One out later, Tim Smith singled through the right side of the Mexican infield to plate Rene Tosoni with another counter, making the score 2-0. Canada scored single runs in the fourth and sixth innings, both on Shawn Bowman RBI singles in both innings, but the real story in this game was starting pitcher Nic Bucci (pictured).

The 2008 Milwaukee Brewers draft pick out of Sarnia, Ontario held Mexico scoreless on four hits while striking out five before being pulled with one out in the fifth inning. Although reliever Trystan Magnuson was awarded the win after pitching 1.2 hitless frames, it was Bucci who kept the Mexican batters at bay while his offense mounted enough runs to take a 4-0 advantage into the bottom of the sixth.

Soto finally broke the spell by clobbering a 3-1 pitch from Vince Perkins over the wall after Jesus Cota opened the eighth with a single up the middle and then advanced on Perkins’ wild pitch to Soto. However, that was the most life Mexico was to show at the plate for the night as Cristian Presichi, Edgar Quintero and Sergio Contreras all grounded out to finish the inning. With two out in the ninth, the Mexicans stayed alive when Ivan Terrazas singled and Oscar Robles walked, but pitcher Robert Swindle got Cota to strike out swinging to end the ballgame.

Starter Rafael Diaz took the loss after struggling over 5.2 innings, allowing all four Canadian runs on eight hits, a walk and a wild pitch. Four relievers combined to hold Canada scoreless on just one scratch single the rest of the way, but Mexico wasn’t able to capitalize on the strong work from the bullpen.

Mexico will take a 1-2 second round record into Thursday’s scheduled Pool G game in San Marino against the Netherlands Antilles, who have allowed 30 runs over two losses. Taiwan and the USA are tied for the Pool G lead at 3-0, Puerto Rico is third at 2-1, and Mexico, Canada and Japan are all 1-2.